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Remote Docker Environments

Remote Docker Instances

You can use remote Docker instances, whether on the internet, inside your network, or running in a virtual machine.

  • On the remote machine, the Docker port must be exposed if it’s not already. See instructions for how to do this on a systemd-based remote server. Be aware that this has serious security implications and must not be done without taking those into consideration. In fact, dockerd will complain:

    Binding to IP address without --tlsverify is insecure and gives root access on this machine to everyone who has access to your network. host=”tcp://”.

  • If you do not already have the Docker client installed (like you would from Docker Desktop), install only the client with brew install docker.

  • Create a Docker context that points to the remote Docker instance. For example, if the remote hostname is debian-11, then docker context create debian-11 --docker host=tcp://debian-11:2375 && docker use debian-11. Alternately, you can use the DOCKER_HOST environment variable, e.g. export DOCKER_HOST=tcp://debian-11:2375.
  • Make sure you can access the remote machine using docker ps.
  • Bind mounts cannot work on a remote Docker setup, so you must use ddev config global --no-bind-mounts. This will cause DDEV to push needed information to and from the remote Docker instance when needed. This also automatically turns on Mutagen caching.
  • You may want to use a FQDN other than * because the DDEV site will not be at For example, ddev config --fqdns=debian-11 and then use https://debian-11 to access the site.
  • If the Docker host is reachable on the internet, you can actually enable real HTTPS for it using Let’s Encrypt as described in Casual Webhosting. Make sure port 2375 is not available on the internet.

Continuous Integration (CI)

A number of people have found it easy to test their projects using DDEV on a CI system like GitHub Actions, Travis CI, or CircleCI. Instead of setting up a hosting environment for testing, they start the project using DDEV and run their tests.

Examples of this approach are demonstrated in Codeception Tests in Travis CI with DDEV and Selenium and Setup DDEV in GitHub Workflows.

Integration of DDEV Docker Images Into Other Projects

You can use DDEV Docker images outside the context of the DDEV environment. People have used the ddev-webserver image for running tests in PhpStorm, for example.